This one’s for my brothers.

I grew up with sisters. I didn’t even have many male friends growing up. But in the last five years or so, I have somehow collected a huge assortment of brothers.

I have smart brothers and goofy brothers. I have philosophers, teddy bears and gladiators. I have visionaries, rock stars, fathers, geeks and globetrotters. Some of them make me laugh so hard that life has become much less serious. I have one brother so tall that when he hugs me, my arms go around his waist like a literal kid sister. Another one of my brothers always seems to show up at my shoulder right when I need him. Every time, no fail, there he is.

Like a kid sister, time in a circle of my brothers does something inside me that has changed me. Some of them push me past my comfort zone or mock when my girlishness is obviously hypocritical. Some of them literally carry me as part of their heart. Some laugh at my over-emotional processing, roll their eyes at my long writings, are sometimes deliberately gross, and push my buttons just because they know where they are.

But at least once a month, I’m overwhelmed when I think about them: Jesus, thank you for all my brothers.

See, here’s the thing. My brothers, in all their variety and style, brought a lot of fullness and dimension to my life. For all their torment, they also really love me. They listen to me, value me, and fiercely protect me. They are bad-ass and they’re puddles. They trust me enough to lower their shields and let me see, really see, their soft gooey centers. They sharpen their swords at my side, never reducing me or condescending to me.

I’m telling you, my brothers have been instrumental in helping me discover my place as my Father’s daughter. My brothers are the steel His love is built of. They lay a foundation of authority and strength to every single thing I do.

But sometimes I see how hard it is for them to be strong in a world that wants them to be feminine. All too often, I see their power rejected and their authority shamed. They are constantly doing battle with judgments that they’re despots, misogynists or dispassionate. Any time they want to rein in drama, mete out justice or reset cultures, they are charged. When they want to do war, they are criticized that their swords are too sharp. I’ve seen their command resented and their discipline ignored, hamstrung at every turn by society’s broken understanding of masculinity.

That’s hard for them, when they really just need someone to believe in them and tell them to get in the ring and land some punches.

Mixed metaphor aside, I’m ready to see more of my brothers bloodied from war without the steady whine that they be diplomats. I’m ready for us to give them some room to truly rise up well, without cutting them down every time they fail. I’m ready for them to fight, to roar from their chests. I want to see Jesus enter the room in their strong shoulders and righteous hearts. I’m ready to see the shadow of evil fade in their light. I’m ready to see them walking home from the field with their spirits fully alive and flying. I’m ready to see what comes out of them when we actually trust them, fighting with them instead of resisting them.

This weekend, a friend of mine prophesied over the men among us and I felt these words: prime the pump.

And so I close with this, for my brothers, and I’m almost begging: Prime the pump. I really need to hear more of you. When you speak, when you take your place, when you fearlessly stand, when you hold your throne, it empowers us. It gives me open opportunity for my femininity. Your power in the Father is important and we need it. It is critical.

I realize you’re maybe out of practice, unsure what that looks like, or afraid of the cost, but let me be frank: too bad. We need the kings. The queens need you. I need you, and sisters get to be bossy. What first comes out of you might be rough or ugly, but what will come after is worth that practice. Prime the pump. Open up and let your power flow out. Take your places.

Don’t wait for permission any more. Don’t wait for invitation or to be nominated. I really can’t wait to see what it looks like. I really can’t wait for you to see how important you are, to understand how strong you make us, how much security and power you give us.

I love you a whole lot. Thanks for being my brothers. My brothers are mighty kings, in the light of the King. (And I trust you.)

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